How are your kids spending their last days of freedom?

Theresa had some things to take care of before her family goes on vacation. Keith Still will be filling in for her this week.

Over the past two months, our family has tried to pack as much fun as possible into the kids’ summer break. We have hiked in Idaho, played in the snow on Mount Rainier, Wash., and dipped our toes in the freezing Pacific Ocean along the Oregon coast. Our girls have spent hours swimming in the neighborhood pool and playing with friends. They have practiced softball and gymnastics; held talent shows on the living room hearth, played board games and eaten their weight in ice cream.

Now, this week marks the beginning of the end – of summer – for most students around metro Atlanta. It’s T minus 14 days and counting until that school bus comes rumbling down the street; then another 180 school days of backpacks, homework and dressing out for P.E. before they enjoy another real taste of freedom.

In a last-ditch effort to squeeze in a little more summer (and put off the dreaded back-to-school shopping), I took our girls to St. Simons for a few days to visit family and actually enjoy the much warmer waves of the Atlantic. Driving home yesterday, I clearly wasn’t the only Atlantan heading back from the beach. Interstates 95, 16 and 75 were full of metro-area cars laden with bikes and boogie boards all heading back to the ATL.

Back home, the children filled Daddy in on the news from the beach and then resigned themselves to two weeks filled with dentist and orthodontist appointments, shopping, Open House and a regular morning and nighttime schedule. “Summer,” as my sunburned sixth grader said, “was fun while it lasted.”

I have some friends who are itching for school to start back and for things to return to “normal”. While I do like to have a normal routine, I always feel like there’s not enough time to do everything we want before the end of summer and wish the kids had just a few more weeks off. I guess we can still look forward to several nice weekends before homework, sports and autumnal breezes take over. If you’re looking for a things your family can do in the final days of summer, check out these websites for ideas  

Are you ready for school to start back? More importantly, are your kids ready? How did your family spend the summer? Did you accomplish everything you wanted over the break? What do you and your kids like to do for fun in their fleeting days of freedom?

43 comments Add your comment

motherjanegoose

July 27th, 2009
8:31 am

Thanks Keith for filling in…I guess your skin is tough….get ready as some folks here are VERY demanding…..LOL. I always try to make a comment ( if I can) , even when I am not into the topic, to be supportive.

We always have big plans for the summer and rarely actually get them all done.

We have taken a few vacations and enjoyed not having to rush around in the morning. I have visited a few potential colleges with my daughter. She has expanded her cooking repetoire ( sp?) and introduced us to some tasty new dishes. We have enjoyed visiting with neighbors on a relaxed, basis, as we walk our dog and greet others who are doing likewise. We have enjoyed lunch out with and without friends.

I have been in education my entire adult life and now work for myself and I take time in the summer to clean out and fix up. We usually tackle one big project each summer and this year it is our hard wood floors. I hope to also get new carpet upstairs and MAYBE a bath in the basement….if I can find someone who is reputable and reasonable.

I do not look forward to the school morning starting at 5;45 but my son MAY drive my daughter to school until she gets her license and own car ( as he will be home for few weeks.) My poor husband gets up year round at 4:00 and I have reminded my daughter that unless she wants to follow me in education, she will not have summers off…she may reconsider….LOL!

Parents….PLEASE TRY to get your elementary kids in a routine next week…start putting them in bed by 9:00 ( at the latest). If they have to get up early, their little bodies need some time to adjust!
First impressions last a lifetime and if your darlings are cranky and rude….you may be in for a long year!

DB

July 27th, 2009
8:32 am

“Back to school” has a particularly gritty meaning to me this year. Gone are the days when “back to school shopping” meant an evening run by Office Depot or Wal-Mart with excited kids for the designated 1″ red binder, a 1-1/2″ blue binder, dividers with folders, pencils, Sharpies, highlighters and a separate trip for a couple of new uniform shirts. The most expensive item we bought was a Texas Instrument scientific calculator.

We have traded Office Depot for Ikea, and added Bed Bath & Beyond, the Container Store and other stores to the “must hit” list. “Back to School” now means: Bed linens for an XL twin dorm bed. TV. Microwave. (Roommate is bringing rug, refrigerator and futon,) Storage options (shelving, etc.). Laundry basket and laundry supplies. Closet organizers. Toiletries. Curtains for window. Some basic cooking equipment. A Costco run for snack foods. We are congratulating ourselves that most stuff have been purchased as the result of careful shopping, hitting sales, etc., — but still! That’s before we’ve even gotten near the housing and meal plan payment, not to mention books!

Wisdom teeth come out this week. Next week is a short trip to NYC, followed by a last minute round of packing and shopping, and then — off she goes for her first year of college. The older son goes back to his college a week later, with a few new/old purchases to round out his first foray into non-dorm living. He is scrounging the internet to find a deal on a refurbished refrigerator, and we are plotting how to economically transport several pieces of furniture 400 miles. Son, having a deep understanding of what it is like to be a destitute college student (!), is working and trying to get in as many hours as possible before he has to go back. Daughter was unable to find a job this summer because the cruise we went on in June took up a chunk of time that no employer was willing to allow for, plus we knew that she would be taking days off for the wisdom teeth, orientation, etc. — so she’s been doing as much babysitting as she could scrounge up (not much — people are being a lot more careful about hiring babysitters, they aren’t going out as much!),

They are both anxious for school to start — the son, to get back to his friends and activities at school (this year with a car! Which needs new brakes . . . *sigh*), and the daughter, wild with excitement at her first steps towards adulthood and life as a college freshman. What is “return to normal”? I think my definition of “normal” has forever changed . . .

motherjanegoose

July 27th, 2009
8:59 am

I posted but it disappeared…often it will come up later. Keith, sometimes Theresa has to look for it….sorry!

DB, surely you and your son...

July 27th, 2009
9:01 am

… do better than hauling a refurbished refrigerator 400 miles, especially behind a car that may need breaks. What is wrong with him trying to find one once back at college? Just a suggestion to make life easier to make the transport of the requisite furniture a little easier!

DB, hope your daughter...

July 27th, 2009
9:17 am

…has the experiences for which college makes memories – also hope she knows about the “freshman 15″ and keeps them away!

motherjanegoose

July 27th, 2009
9:18 am

@ DB, surely you….would the car need brakes or breaks….loved this….LOL. Sometimes our minds and fingers are not in sync. This happens to me too!

DB…I hope you are checking out craigslist…we have found some great deals…especially for kids.

Still do not see my original post….

JJ

July 27th, 2009
9:19 am

DB, I’m in the same boat, kind of……we hit Target and Bed, Bathy & Beyond almost every Saturday now. Tomorrow is the doctor’s appointment for shots and a physical.

How did you get your child’s roommate information? My daughter has a suite mate, but the school won’t give out any information. They will share a bathroom, but we don’t have any clue as to what her suite mate will be bringing. Do I buy the shower curtain, bath mats, etc? Or will they. What colors do we use, etc. Bascially we decided, lets get down there, get settled, then decide, and we can always buy stuff later.

We are going through closets, cleaning stuff out, sending items to Goodwill, etc. I’m turning her “dressing room” into my office, and moving the computer upstairs. TV’s are getting relocated to other rooms, and her turtle is going to live with the neighbor who has a pond and several other turtles……t minus 20 days…….

Wareagle87

July 27th, 2009
9:49 am

My Mom & I have been stashing stuff away since the spring for my son’s first year at college. We both hate to shop so we’ve been picking stuff up when we already had to be out somewhere and checking it off of the list and trying to use buy one get one free coupons for cleaners and toiletries and such (he’s in an on campus apartment). His college provides a contact email for the other roommates so that they can contact each other.

FCM

July 27th, 2009
10:01 am

Complaining that school that will start soon is how they are spending the time.

They have had many field trips at day camp. Eldest had 2 sleep away camps. Both left town twice with family. So they have had a busy summer filled with good things.

However, busy summers fly by…..that and Georgia schools just start to durn early!!!!

FCM

July 27th, 2009
10:04 am

Phines and Ferb state “There are 104 days of summer vacation and school comes along just to end it” Well that is 14 weeks…which is probably the national average….but in GA we get 11. BUMMER OF A SUMMER.

motherjanegoose

July 27th, 2009
10:10 am

JJ…I cannot imagine that you do not have this info yet. Most kids I know do. ONE tip…if you wait to get to college, EVERYONE will be shopping at the stores there and they will be picked over. I suggest you get some things now, save the receipts and if you have to take things back…so be it.
Your daughter will need certain things right away and if you cannot find it in the college town, then you will be making another trip with supplies ASAP.

Ross has great deals on sheets, comforters, towels, bathroom racks etc. I picked up a lot of things there.

Wareagle…good tips about coupons. I also like BIG LOTS for plastics: trash cans etc.

Good luck…still do not see my original post.

I am excited that my son will be living with us for a few weeks and can possibly drive his sister to school before she gets her license and car. I will NOT have to wake up at 6;15, as they both have to be up. HOORAH!

RE: freshman 15….my son was the MINUS freshman 50…he lost it! When he came home, I was amazed. He is 6 foot 2 and lost 50 pounds….amazing. Most kids do gain it though.

JJ

July 27th, 2009
10:18 am

My daughter eats very healthy, but I am still concerned about the Freshman 15. She lost 24 pounds this summer, and I would hate for her to put it all back on…….

We have just about everything she needs to get started. I keep telling her, let’s get you settled, then make of list of “wants”. I have finally convinced her NOT to take her tv the first time we do down there. My car is going to be loaded to the gills……and her cousin is coming with us. I may have to borrow my ex-sister-in- law’s Expedition…….

But we already have sheets, comforters, pillows, bath supplies and cleaners, posters, etc. All she really needs to do is get her books and school supplie…….and she will do that the Monday after I leave. Classes don’t start until the following Tuesday……

JJ

July 27th, 2009
10:19 am

Oh, and one good thing, after she leaves, I no longer have to get up at 5:30………I can actually sleep until 6:15 or so in the mornings. I won’t be driving her to school anymore. No more high school traffic…..and my commute is only 30 minutes.

April

July 27th, 2009
10:20 am

FCM, my husband and I were just wondering where Phineas and Ferb live to get such a long summer!

Keith, you sound a lot like us. We spend last week at the beach, and now the back to school party invites have started to arrive. Younger daughter has 2, and Older has 3. Shopping for school uniforms has been put off as long as possible, and we must do it soon. We will squeeze in a last minute trip to see the grandparents. We are one of the later schools to start, but by next week, it will be pretty hectic with pre-planning, shopping, organizing, etc.

I, for one, hate to see it end. I love the spontaneity of our summers, and routine = busy at our house.

MA

July 27th, 2009
10:38 am

My daughter spent one week doing the summer work for an AP class and they are not even going to have the class. Not enough interest from the students. We had to buy the book online and it took three weeks to get it. So, we don’t know what class she will have and won’t find out until Open House. They use to send the schedules in the mail but did not this year. It will be a very interesting year!!

MA

July 27th, 2009
10:39 am

The principal was suppose to call the students one month ago to let them know about the AP class. Didn’t get a call. Heard it from the teacher!

motherjanegoose

July 27th, 2009
10:42 am

@ April…I like walking our dog all over the neighborhood and stopping to visit with the neighbors. I do not have to worry about scooting home as we do not have to be anywhere in the a.m.
My daughter hates to do this with me because she says we do not get very far before I stop and talk, as I know most everyone….LOL.

We went twice to the beach and loved it. I am off to Wyoming this week and my husband is moving our son back home while I am gone. After both of my kids get back in school, I will have a few weeks home ALONE before I head back on the road.

HB

July 27th, 2009
10:47 am

JJ, I think you’ll be fine picking up the extras after you get there. Your daughter’s going to Middle GA, right? I don’t think Cochran has big box stores, but there’s a super Wal-Mart over in Dublin and probably Eastman too. Warner Robins may not be too far either. It’s not a large school and there aren’t other big colleges in the area, so you should be fine, especially since it sounds like you’ve already picked up the important things.

JJ

July 27th, 2009
10:48 am

We are having a “goodbye, see ya soon” party for my daughter and her friends, the weekend before they all leave. All of her friends are going in different directions, so they are gathering the weekend before so they can all say “see ya soon”. No “GoodByes”, just “see ya laters”……they will start off at a restaurant in Suwanee, and end up at my house……..

DB

July 27th, 2009
10:49 am

Haha — NO WAY are we moving a fridge 400 miles! That’s the great thing about the internet — you can peruse CraigsList, for sale and liquidation centers in far away places from the comfort of your own home! But there’s still the extra desk and old sofa set that we are contributing, as well as all his other stuff. He stored a lot of stuff in his fraternity’s basement, so we aren’t dragging a lot of stuff back and forth. But there’s still clothes, sports equipment, etc. And we’re probably going to rent a small U-Haul for the furniture pieces — the little car was purposely purchased underpowered five years ago for a 15/16 year old — and that’s what he’s stuck with until he buys his own!

JJ — I’m surprised you don’t have your roommate information, yet. You might want to call the school to make sure there’s not a snag. My daughter’s school has a system where you can fill out a questionnaire, and they give you a list of girls ranked by the percentage that they match certain characteristics. She got a call in May from a girl in the metro area asking if she’d be interested in rooming together — they talked several times, met for lunch, and registered as roommates on the service. Or you can just choose to take “pot luck”, which a LOT of people do — but they still got their roommate assignments earlier in July. HOWEVER, my daughter got her dorm assignment six weeks ago, but just got her ROOM assignment last Friday. Sheesh! She checks in two weeks from today!

They aren’t doing “matchy-matchy” on the room, but they consult each other on purchases — i.e., my daughter sent a web link to her roommate with a pic of her comforter, roommate sent a link to the fridge — the school gave us measurements for the room, so we have a pretty good idea what fits where, plus my daughter just got back from an overnight visiting friends that are attending summer school and came back with lots of ideas.

MJG — my son lost almost 30 pounds his freshman year. He played a lot of racquetball and pick-up basketball, and walked and biked everywhere — he was in great shape at the end of his freshman year.

JJ

July 27th, 2009
10:58 am

The lady at the housing office said they don’t give out that information……I was stunned, since EVERY where else is going it. A neighbor is going to Georgia State and she already knows her roommates……

Maybe I’ll give them a call again. I know the dorm is brand new, and they were still building when we were there early this month……

catlady

July 27th, 2009
11:10 am

I laugh when I think back to my kids’ pre-college preparations. Daughter number one spent three MONTHS shopping, and we had a station wagon FULL, plus the top, of stuff. Son walked out to his little Miata and put his guitars in the back seat, and was ready to go! His big sis came running out with sheets and towels for him to take! The younger daughter spent a month picking out the perfect stuff, and I helped her bring it to the school, which was 50 miles from a mall.

My exciting news is that my younger daughter is engaged! In the last 2 1/2 years I have acquired a son in law, a granddaughter, a daughter in law, and a grandson in addition to the new fiance. The remarkable thing about this is that I spaced my 3 children widely apart, and did not expect so much to happen in such a short time when they got older. Ah, change, it keeps you young!

As for me, I took no trips this summer. The back to school nightmares started a week ago. Most teachers I know have them, too. A recurrent one I had when I was a younger teacher was that I was doing cartwheels, NAKED, down the hall. Luckily I don’t have that one anymore–it would not be a pretty sight! LOL

Ladilovely

July 27th, 2009
11:22 am

To all the parents whose girls are going to college, I can pick up any furniture or nick nacks you may be discarding. My daughter is becoming the teenager in the family and she wants to redo her entire room. Any suggestions on where to get good used furniture or nick nacks would be helpful. I can be contacted at ladilovely77@comcast.net.

motherjanegoose

July 27th, 2009
11:29 am

catlady….congrats to you.

I have those wacky nightmares to, when I am up to my eyeballs in travel and it drives me nuts. I did have a funny dream a few weeks ago about a casual friend at church who is my age. I dreamed
( sp?)that her husband BOUGHT a Wal Mart as she had always wanted to be a manager and thus would be. Now that IS a nightmare…we laughed when I told her!

Ladilovely

July 27th, 2009
11:51 am

I listed the wrong email address. My email address is ladilovely@comcast.net

Shell

July 27th, 2009
11:55 am

I am one of those parent that dreads back to school. The Summer is the time our family spends qulity time together. We actually like being together.LOL Once school starts it’s four kids in differnt schools, activities, and sports. I still wish the school scheduale had the kids starting back to school in September like when I went to school. Hope everyone has a great year!

motherjanegoose

July 27th, 2009
12:11 pm

O.K…..am I the only one whose posts are evaporating? Perhaps I should take this as a hint…now 2 posts are gone. Have a nice day all….congrats catlady…I mentioned this in a post that never clicked in.

FCM

July 27th, 2009
12:28 pm

I don’t know where Phin and Ferb live…I would like being their neighboring though! Those two make McGuveyor’s tricks look bad….they could never make Richard Dean Anderson look bad ;)

HB

July 27th, 2009
12:30 pm

MJG, 6 of 26 posts here are yours. Maybe posting that often trips an alarm in the system. It may think you’re spamming and block the posts or send them to a possible spam folder instead of publishing. Moderators should be able go to those and fish them back out. In some systems, very long posts sometimes get marked as possible spam as well.

Keith

July 27th, 2009
12:49 pm

Hey MJG — I just got home from my youngest child’s Kindergarten “orientation”, so I haven’t had a chance to look for your missing post. I will see if I can track it down though!

JJ — Theresa mentioned you had a good college/empty nest topic that we might use this week, but I can’t recall exactly what your question was. Do you mind re-posting? I would love to explore it later this week!

Catlady — Best wishes to your daughter and her new fiance’!

motherjanegoose

July 27th, 2009
1:06 pm

HB…perhaps you are correct but it was the first post I sent at 8:30 or so this morning, right after DB’s and not as long…LOL. The others did not show up for quite some time but are here now.

Maybe blog hogs get ditched….haha!

I just wanted to support Keith as the substitute, since she has been so kind to hang out with us.

Keith…best wishes on Kindergarten…it is WONDERFUL! I spend many years in the classroom with some of the cutest kids you will ever know. There were some terrors too…..

JJ

July 27th, 2009
1:24 pm

Keith, I was hopeing for a topic on how to make the transition from single Mom to Empty Nester……my one and only child is going off and I’m going to be rambling around that house all by myself, along with 2 cats and 2 dogs……..

I keep hearing this question in the back of my mind “Now what do I do?” once I get home from taking her to college……..

And don’t mention part time jobs or going back to school. I am already checking into that……plus I have a few projects I have put on hold around the house…….I can pay more attention to the yard too…..I love to putter around in my yard……

DB

July 27th, 2009
1:25 pm

JJ — if they can’t give it out, surely they can email your daughter at the email they have on record, or on the campus email?! That’s ridiculous. You have to know who is buying what!

Kindergarten . . . oh, my, that seems a lifetime ago! Wait — that was a lifetime ago — my children’s lifetime! Treasure it, and don’t forget those “first day of school” pictures, folks! I’m trying to figure out how I can sneak in a “first day of college” picture of my daughter without being too shutter-happy!

When you putter around in your yard...

July 27th, 2009
1:42 pm

…do you have to use a putter? Is that like parking on a driveway and driving on a parkway? Inquiring minds want to know!

Becky

July 27th, 2009
1:45 pm

Catlady, congrats and best wishes on all that you have gained in the last couple of years..

To all that have kids going into college..Hope all goes well for them..For them to have amde it this far is a great thing..Best wishes for them in the future..I only have the two going into the first grade..

JJ, do you ride a motorcycle? Did you ever write poetry? Learn to sew..Take a cooking class? Photography? Run a marathon? Just wondering if a new hobby is something you might like to try? How was your vacation? We jsut got back from the North Ga. Mountains and we had a blast..The kids want to move up there and live full time..If I could make a living up there, I’d be gone is a heartbeat..

JJ

July 27th, 2009
1:56 pm

Hey Becky, great suggestions…….I love to cook and try new recipes. I have a notebook full of recipes I have printed off from Food Network (that my daughter doesn’t like), and I want to try them all. Sundays in the fall are for football and cooking…….

A new hobby is another great idea. I’ve always wanted to take a photography course, as I am the family photographer…….I’m never in the pictures, because I’m behind the camera…….

Our vacation was great. A lot of rest and relaxing by the pool and the ocean. I know how you feel about the mountains….I love them too. If it weren’t for the commute, I’d already be there…..

Keith

July 27th, 2009
2:44 pm

Thanks JJ! I’ve already started working on tomorrow’s topic, but will address yours on Wednesday!

New Step Mom

July 27th, 2009
4:26 pm

We have my step daughter this week an one more before she starts school. She is in drama camp this week (not that any 10yo girl needs help in that area ;o)!). We will do a lake vacation the next week and play on the water. I cannot believe how quickly summer has flown by.

Becky

July 27th, 2009
4:45 pm

new step mom, boy are you right on with the need help in the drama dept..lol..We have a 7 year old that could win a oscar right now in drama..

fk

July 27th, 2009
6:09 pm

Shell…I, too, never particularly like the back to school stuff. We had great summer breaks when my son was younger. Even though I feel that the break is too long, there were never any complaints.

My son and I are going “back to school” shopping for college this week. He started putting stuff aside, and asked if I thought we was taking enough boxers…he is leaving a few pair at home, and has set aside 21 pairs to take with him. Already, he does not appear to be planning on doing laundry very often! He leaves on Sunday :(

JJ: My son found out about his roommate via the school’s website. It’s pretty amazing…he’s “met” a lot of kids in his dorm via FB already.

I keep telling my husband that I hope we still like each other since we’ll be the only ones at home. I think the dog is going to become even more spoiled, if that’s really possible.

JATL

July 27th, 2009
7:25 pm

Well, my youngest is only a baby and my oldest is only 3 and in preschool, but their schedule is the
Atlanta Public School schedule. I wish summer went from Memorial Day to Labor Day. My 3 year old IS JUST ABOUT TO DRIVE ME NUTS, BUT -and it’s a biiiiig but -I have had mostly a great time on outings with him this summer. We still have to go to Six Flags and White Water before school starts and we’re relegated to weekends only there with tremendous crowds. I think we’re doing our family camping trip at Red Top the last weekend in August, so school will have already begun. Today we did the Tellus Science Museum and I REALLY recommend it for anyone -child, teenager or adult. TONS of interactive goodies and a beautiful digital planetarium with shows catering to different age groups. MUCH better dinosaurs than Fernbank!

We’ve spent lots of time at the Children’s Museum, zoo, Grant Park Pool, my parent’s pool, in our backyard, the Botanical Gardens and the Aquarium. We’ve become such regulars at the library I think the staff knows our names. Because of our kid’s young ages we have a little more leeway (the world won’t end if he misses some preschool -although we pay for it, and I NEED that time, so I don’t like for him to miss too much). I guess Six Flags and maybe White Water if we do that one will be our last gasps of true summertime before the 17th. We can save American Adventures, camping and other stuff for after school starts.

ladilovely

July 27th, 2009
11:48 pm

Let me first apologize. If offended anyone with my request, please accept my apologize. I am justing looking to brighten my daughter life with a updated room. Once again I apologize for posting my request. Thank you

JJ

July 28th, 2009
2:59 pm

No offense taken Ladilovely. I use this blog to bounce ideas off others, and ask for information too…….You should get quite a bit of feedback from other……